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(This came from an idea of Robo_J's he brought up a few weeks ago, and it’s been stewing in my mind ever since)

I was born in the gut of a factory in a haze of axle grease and sawdust. There was no pain, just a quick click, and there I was, ready to greet the world that lay on the other side of those soot-caked brownstone walls. The ceiling above me loomed like a corrugated cathedral roof, and as I passed from worker to worker my purpose became more and more clear to me. My reason for being had been engrained into my every curve and bend, every facet of my body an affirmation of my purpose. Even after I was thrust into the musty darkness of a straw-laden box, I knew exactly why I had been placed upon this earth.

When I was finally pulled from the box, I met my first friend: Beaumont Randal, an Ohio farmer without a lick of fat on him and as unsteady a gait as any a man could have. A tremor echoed throughout his entire body, I learned, and it converged in his fingers in a perpetual cacophony of spasms. But the man had a charm about him that outshone his unsteady hand, and I was always “the new over-under” throughout our thirty years together.

We used to hunt ducks together in the morning on weekends. The first time he pulled the trigger, the first time I fired, was beautiful. There was nothing surprising about it, but it stood as a burning testament to my existence and my purpose. Despite Beaumont’s twitch, that first duck was plucked from the sky and was dead before it hit the ground.

His luck faded quickly after that, but he held out a long time before he sold me. I was a point of pride for him I think, but a childless farmer with no coordination and a long-dead wife can only hold out so long. Our morning hunts became more and more seldom. Eventually we parted ways. I can’t imagine he lasted much longer after that.

My second friend was Wilfred Lambert, a potbellied gambler from Hartford whose work had taken him west. A traveling man with a shotgun is a ridiculous and crude sight, but he didn’t seem to mind much. Wilfred reasoned that trouble would avoid a man holding a shotgun, but such was hardly the case. He never wanted to use me, just hold me, make me threaten those who would threaten him. I could feel his heart hammer every time he pointed me.

One of my few regrets is Wilfred. I didn’t have much say in the matter, but the facts remain as they are. I’m not a threat, I’m much, much more than that, and Wilfred should’ve learned that while he had the chance. One day Wilfred points me at a man named Thomas Fillmore, and Thomas was not a man to be arbitrarily threatened. There was a fight, and Thomas ended up with his finger on my trigger.

My muzzle was centered on Wilfred’s chest, and I could only think that his heart sounded the same on this side of the gun as it had on the other.

There was no pain, just a quick click, and Wilfred Lambert was plucked from this earth to places upon which I can only speculate. A shot is a quick thing, but it is far from clean. People tend to mistake the two. Everything was torn from its natural place into an unnatural geometry, and the Wilfred I had known was no more.

Thomas and I were never really friends. I was a liability. He kept me around for a few weeks, which surprised me in and of itself, but he finally had the sense to wrap me up and bury me behind a pharmacy in a small town south of Detroit.

I lay there for a long while. Muddied noises murmured above me, some times more than others, and a quiet darkness took hold. I don’t know how much time passed exactly, but it was no small wait.

The world looked different when I was pulled out. Buildings were taller and roads were louder. I was found by a construction worker named Billy who couldn’t stop cursing with joy as he ran his eyes up and down my frame. He sold me after a few days to a collector in Minneapolis.

That’s how I met my most recent friend, Frank Moore. He’s a doctor. I don’t know if he’s ever actually shot a gun in his life, but he can clean one decently enough. There are a few of us in his study, arranged into some kind of decorative ornamentation that seems to excite him in one way or another. I don’t think he has much of an understanding of what we are, not really, but it’s not for me to say what a man should do with his time or money or wall decoration choices.

He strikes me as a decent human being, but I am a creature of a certain design. My reason for being has been engraved into my every curve and bend, and I am not yet an artifact. I was not designed for a wall or for aesthetic stagnation, I was designed for destruction and terrible change. And I can only hope that my friend Frank learns this fact lest his ornaments turn their calling towards him, we ferocious creatures of purpose.



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